I just watched the new Point Break, the one that came out last year, and I am sad to say, I was very disappointed. Maybe on the big screen, the special effects were impressive, but on video, they are obvious computer imaging. In the original, 1991 movie, when they jumped out of the plane and were free falling through the sky, viewers could feel the adrenaline rush, and when they were riding the waves, we almost felt wet. The graphics on the 2015 movie aren’t even convincing, and viewers don’t feel that same excitement when they swooped through a mountain canyon in wing-suits. A lot of it just didn’t look real, so there was no reason for the adrenaline to flow.
Perhaps if the title were changed, and the characters in the 2015 movie didn’t have the same names as the characters in the original 1991 Point Break, it could be judged upon its own merit. But as it stands, they’ve set the new movie up to be compared to the original, which I feel is a big mistake. The original movie was an action movie, in which an FBI agent infiltrates a group of surfers who are bank robbers, and it was fun to watch. The 2015 version has a completely different tone than the original movie, being more of an international crime suspense thriller with a lot of extreme sports thrown in.
The transition to the international plot did not work well. The Johnny Utah character, played by Luke Bracey, I conveniently involved in extreme sports, before becoming an FBI agent, so he doesn’t waste time learning to walk the walk in order to infiltrate the culture. He’s already a member of the club. They all know him. Then, just as conveniently, maybe even more so, he figures out where to look for the bad guys, goes straight there and the first group he encounters are the guys he’s looking for, and the Brohdi character, played by Edgar Ramirez, more convenient still, saves him from drowning after a surfing incident. Too many coincidences for me to buy in. Sorry.
And let me add here, though I’m reviewing this film based on the merit of the screenplay and story, that Bracey is no Keanu Reeves and Ramirez is no Patrick Swayze. In the original movie, it was clear early on that our bad guys were thrill seekers, adrenaline junkies, and viewers understood where they were coming from, what their motivation to take so many risks and live so dangerously was. I did not get that sense about these guys. And I didn’t really get a sense of how bad they were. The creators failed to create a villain I could love to hate.
(SPOILER ALERT – There may be spoilers from this point on.)
Patrick Swayze’s Bohdi character was such a villain. You knew he was a bad guy and he had to go down, but you could understand why Utah agrees to let him go out his own way, at the end, after winning their struggle in the water. Ramirez’s Bohdi is not. I didn’t get what made him tick, or what his motivations were. At the end of the 2015 movie, when Utah lets Bohdi go, I didn’t get it. There’s no struggle, no fight. Utah doesn’t even try and talk Bohdi out of it. Bohdi says, “You’ve got to let me go”, and Utah says, “Okay.” Maybe I don’t get it, because empathy with these characters is something I never felt through the whole movie. There was just no connection.
Also, the villains in the original Point Break were bank robbers, financing their surfing tour with their spoils. The villains it the 2015 movie appeared as modern day Robin Hoods, robbing from the rich and giving away all the spoils. It’s difficult to see them as bad guys because they have a cause.
The one interesting twist I felt the 2015 movie had was the girl, Samsara, who we at first believe is a love interest, but later we are surprised to learn she’s a part of the crew, after Utah shoots and kills her in the kiss of death moment. Of course, in the original, the girl is a love interest and the bad guys use her as leverage to get Johnny Utah’s cooperation, so I was expecting something similar here. I liked that twist, where there was not much else to be liked about this movie. As I mentioned above, I think this movie might have done alright as a standalone, but it doesn’t measure up to the original movie. I was not impressed with the recent Point Break movie, and I can only give it two quills.
Kaye Lynne Booth does honest book reviews on Writing to be Read, and she never charges for them. Have a book you’d like reviewed? Contact Kaye at kayebooth(at)yahoo(dot)com.